About the Artists

Duncan Gifford

Duncan Gifford has firmly established himself as a major pianist of his generation with international successes of 1st Prize in the Maria Callas Grand Prix de Piano in Athens, Greece (2000), 1st Prize in the Concours Prix Mozart in Lausanne, Switzerland (1999) and 1st Prize (as well as the Beethoven and Chopin Prizes) in the prestigious Jose Iturbi International Piano Competition in Spain (1998)

Duncan has performed in recital throughout Europe, Russia, Japan and Australasia. As soloist he has appeared with all the major Australian orchestras, Orchestre de la Camerata Mozart of Rome, National Orchestra of Ireland, Metropolitan Orchestra of Montreal, Radio Orchestra of Rumania, Russian State Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of Valencia and the Orchestra of Malaga. In 1999 Duncan made his US debut, performing in Carnegie Hall in New York and the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. In February 2003 he made his Viennese debut, performing with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra in the Vienna Konzerthaus.

In 1993 Duncan released his first commercial CD recording (on ABC Classics), featuring music of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. His 1995 CD recording of the complete Debussy Preludes (on the Walsingham label) received great critical acclaim in Australia and the United States and was a nomination for ‘Australian Classical Record of the Year’. Duncan has recently released his third CD, of works for piano and orchestra by Saint-Saens, Franck and D’Indy, together with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

 Susan Collins

Susan Collins has a distinguished career in performance, research and education. In reviewing her CD, Raymond Hanson Violin Music (Tall Poppies) with David Miller, Julian Hayloch wrote in The Strad: 'Susan Collins…plays these extraordinary scores with a remarkable sureness of touch, following even the most unexpected shifts in phrasing and expressive direction with micro-fine precision.  Her warm, rich sound works wonders in bringing this music alive, enhanced by a generous, medium-paced vibrato and sensitivity to dynamic shading that comes as no surprise when one learns that her mentors have included the great Thomas Zehetmair.'

Susan has also completed a reconstructive edition of the Hanson works, now published by Reed Music. Her CD, Schumann Piano Trios with Duncan Gifford and Sue-Ellen Paulsen (ABC Classics), was released in 2012, to critical acclaim. Susan has performed as soloist and recitalist throughout Australia, the USA and Europe. She has appeared numerous times in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Sunday Live series, performing as recitalist as well as in duo and trio combinations with Paulsen and Gifford. She has also recorded many times for ABC FM, and 2MBS FM radio stations in live performance broadcasts as well as studio recorded recitals.

From 1992 until 2001, Susan held the position of Deputy Concertmaster of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. While holding this position, Susan acted regularly as Concertmaster for the AOBO. She also accepted engagements as Guest Concertmaster with many orchestras around Australia.

In 2003, Susan was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for 'contribution to Australian society through opera and ballet.' In 2009, Susan was awarded an Australian College of Educators 'Teacher Recognition Award' following successful nomination by her students at the University of Newcastle where she held a lecturer position from 2007 until 2011.

Susan was appointed an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board, NSW in 2011, and participated in Symphony International's Conductor Development Program with Christopher Seaman in 2012. In 2014, she accepted a position of Conductor with the Sydney Youth Orchestra String Orchestral Program.

Susan was appointed Coordinator of Strings and Orchestral Music at the University of Tasmania in 2014.


Sue Ellen Paulsen

Sue-Ellen Paulsen is a 'cellist with formidable  talent. She  studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music where she had lessons with Richard Dedecius. As an undergraduate she appeared as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Conservatorium Orchestra and Queensland Youth Orchestra. In 1980 she won the ABC Concerto Competition (now the Young Performers Award) and was awarded a scholarship enabling her to pursue postgraduate study in Vienna with André Navarra.

Her professional career began in Armidale with the New England String Quartet. She assumed her current position with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in 1986. Since then she has been guest principal with the Sydney Symphony, Adelaide Symphony and Australian Chamber Orchestra. An experienced soloist, she has performed concertos by Shostakovich, Walton, Mills and Ligeti among many others and is featured as soloist on several of the TSO’s Australian Composer Series CDs.

A strong advocate for contemporary music, she has commissioned and premièred many new Australian works including one written especially for her by Andrew Ford. She has recently recorded the Schumann piano trios with the Kingfisher Trio (ABC Classics).

She is lecturer in cello at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.